The Review and Herald


December 19, 1878

Address and Appeal, Setting Forth the Importance of Missionary Work



I have been shown that many do not take hold of the missionary work because the matter has not been presented before them and urged upon their attention by the ministers who have labored in their behalf. These ministers have neglected one essential part of their duty, and as the result hundreds are indifferent and idle who might be at work had they been more perfectly instructed. RH December 19, 1878, par. 1

We have no time to lose. Important work is before us, and if we are slothful servants we shall certainly lose the heavenly reward. But few have broad and extensive views of what can be done in reaching the people by personal, interested efforts in a wise distribution of our publications. Many who will not be induced to listen to the truth presented by the living preacher will take up a tract or a paper and peruse it; many things they read meet their ideas exactly, and they become interested to read all it contains. Impressions are thus made upon their minds which they cannot readily forget. The seed of truth has in some cases been buried for years beneath the rubbish of the world, and the pleasing fables that deceived ones have enjoyed. After a time some earthly sorrow or affliction softens their hearts, and the seed springs up and bears fruit to the glory of God. RH December 19, 1878, par. 2

Again, many read these papers and tracts and their combativeness is aroused, and they throw the silent messengers from them in a passion. But ideas all new to them have, although unwelcome, made their impression, and as the silent messenger bears the abuse without retaliation there is nothing to feed the anger which has been excited. Again the hand takes up the neglected paper or tract, and the eye is tracing the truthful lines, and again in passion it is thrown from them as their path is crossed. But the mind is not at rest; the abused paper is at last perused, and thus point after point of truth commences its convicting work; step by step the reformation is wrought, self dies, and the warfare and antagonism to the truth is ended. The despised paper or tract is henceforth honored as the means of converting the stubborn heart and subduing the perverse will, bringing it in subjection to Christ. Had the living preacher spoken as pointedly, these persons would have turned from him, and would not have entertained the new and strange ideas brought before them. The papers and tracts can go where the living preacher cannot go, and where if he could go he would have no access to the people, because of their prejudice against the truth. RH December 19, 1878, par. 3

I have been shown that but few have any correct idea of what the distribution of papers and tracts is doing. The missionary work, in circulating the publications upon present truth, is opening doors everywhere, and preparing minds to receive the truth, when the living preacher shall come among them. The success which attends the efforts of ministers in the field is not due alone to their efforts, but in a great degree to the influence of the reading matter which has enlightened the minds of the people and removed prejudice. Thus many are made susceptible to the influence of the truth when it is presented before them. RH December 19, 1878, par. 4

The tract and missionary field is an extensive one. I have been shown that Eld. S. N. Haskell has been more fully awake to this subject than any of our other ministers, because he has exercised his mind in this department of the work. He has been untiring in his efforts to advance this work, and to have it carried forward with order and method. He has not at all times had the encouragement he should have had from his ministering brethren. He might have accomplished more had he received the co-operation which he could have had and ought to have had. Although discouraged at times as he has seen that but few appreciated the importance of the missionary work, yet he has not given up his efforts, but has returned again and again with new courage and perseverance to urge forward this branch of the work. RH December 19, 1878, par. 5

The Signs of the Times is our missionary paper; it is doing its work everywhere, and is opening the way for the truth to be more fully presented. This paper has been made a blessing to very many souls. All should feel the deepest interest to have it a spiritual messenger, full of life, and plain, practical truth. In the Christian world there are many starving for the bread of life. The Signs of the Times, laden with rich food, is a feast to many of these who are not of our faith. This paper should not contain many long articles, but the truth should be prepared with great care and made as attractive as possible. Articles which make sharp thrusts upon other churches are out of place in this paper, for they create prejudice. The truth should be presented in its simplicity, in the meekness of wisdom, having an influence to persuade. The matter should be the very choicest; the language should be chaste, elevating, every word breathing the spirit of Christ. The argumentative and practical combined will make a paper beaming with light, to go forth as a lamp that burneth, as a messenger indeed from Heaven. RH December 19, 1878, par. 6

Our brethren do not all see and realize the importance of this paper; if they did they would feel greater personal interest to make it intensely interesting, and then to circulate it everywhere. All who have a part to act in the preparation of matter for this pioneer sheet are engaged in a sacred work, and they should be connected with God; they should be pure in heart and life. God can work with them and give them wisdom that they may become intelligent in the knowledge of the truth. God sees the motive of each worker, and will impart his grace in rich measure in accordance with the spirit in which the labor is done. The silent preacher, enriched with precious matter, should go forth on the wings of prayer, mingled with faith, that it may do its appointed work in shedding the light of truth upon those who are in the darkness of error. RH December 19, 1878, par. 7

Calls are coming in from all directions, not only from persons of our faith, but from those who have become interested by reading our publications; they say, Send us a minister to preach to us the truth. But there is a great want of laborers. We have to answer, There is no man to send among you. Many are obliged to be content with the silent preacher until God shall send them the living messenger. Let all our brethren take this to heart, and by personal effort in faith and hope contribute to the Signs of the Times; for in sending matter that is alive, in speaking by the pen words bearing the holy unction, they are preaching to thousands. Long, dry articles are not wanted for this paper. The great lack of men to go from place to place and preach the word may be in a great degree supplied by tracts and papers, and by intelligent correspondence. RH December 19, 1878, par. 8

The many scattered all over the land who can seldom have the living preacher may make their meetings very interesting and profitable by selecting a good reader to read appropriate discourses published in our papers and books. You have a large variety to choose from, both doctrinal and practical. You can form a Bible-class and search the Scriptures for yourselves, with the aid of our publications, and in this way learn much of present truth. You may present the reasons of our faith to those who shall inquire for them. All should be making the most of the opportunities granted them to become intelligent in the Scriptures. RH December 19, 1878, par. 9

If all would realize the necessity of doing to the utmost of their ability in the work of God, having a deep love for souls, feeling the burden of the work upon them, we should see hundreds engaged as active workers who have been hitherto dull and uninterested, accomplishing nothing. They have felt that there was nothing of importance in this tract and missionary work, nothing worthy of their especial interest. Yet it is a fact that the circulation of our papers is doing even a greater work than the living preacher can do. Many have failed to become thoroughly acquainted with the work, because they have felt that it did not concern them. All can, by individual effort, do something. Some can do more than others. All should become intelligent as to how they can work most successfully and methodically in spreading the light of truth, by scattering our publications. We meet with young and old who profess to be children of God, yet who have not grown an inch for years. A Christian indeed will grow in knowledge of the truth; and as he is sanctified through the truth he will become more and more like Jesus, and more desirous to save souls, the purchase of his blood. RH December 19, 1878, par. 10

With many, the rubbish of the world has clogged the channels of the soul. Selfishness has controlled the mind and warped the character. Were the life hid with Christ in God, his service would be no drudgery. If the whole heart were consecrated to God, all would find something to do, and would covet a part in the work. They would sow beside all waters, praying and believing that the fruit would appear. The practical, God-fearing workers will be growing upward, praying in faith for grace and heavenly wisdom that they may do the work devolving upon them with cheerfulness and a willing mind. They will seek the divine rays of light that they may brighten the paths of others. Those who are co-laborers with God will have no disposition to engage in the various expedients for amusement; they will not be seeking after happiness and enjoyment. In taking up their work in the fear of God, and doing service for the Master, they will secure the most substantial happiness. Connected with Jesus Christ, they will be wise unto salvation. They will be fruit-bearing trees. They will develop a blameless life, a beauteous character. The great work of redemption will be their first consideration. Eating and drinking and dressing, houses and lands, will be secondary matters. The peace of God within will force off the withered or gnarled branches of selfishness, vanity, pride, and indolence. It is faith and practice that makes up the Christian's life. We do not meet the standard of Christianity in merely professing Christ and having our names upon the church book. We should be individual workers for Christ. By personal effort we can show that we are connected with him. RH December 19, 1878, par. 11

There is a wide field in which our sisters may do good service for the Master in the various branches of the work connected with his cause. Through missionary labor they can reach a class that our ministers cannot. There are noble women who have had moral courage to decide in favor of the truth from the weight of evidence. They have conscientiously accepted the truth. They have tact, perception, and good ability, and will make successful workers for their Master. Christian women are called for. There is work neglected or done imperfectly that could be thoroughly accomplished by the help that sisters can give. There are so many kinds of work too laborious for women, which our brethren are called to engage in, that many branches of missionary work are neglected. Many things connected with different churches are left undone that women, if properly instructed, could attend to. Our sisters might serve as church clerks, and the church business would not be so sadly neglected. There are many other offices connected with the cause of God which our sisters are better qualified to fill than our brethren, and in which they might do efficient service. RH December 19, 1878, par. 12

Our sisters can serve as vigilant workers in writing, and drawing out the true feelings of friends who have received our papers and tracts. Very valuable items are brought to light through this means. The writers should not seek for self-exaltation, but to present the truth in its simplicity wherever they shall have an opportunity. The money that has been spent for needless trimmings and useless ornaments should be spent in the purchase of papers and tracts to send to those who are in the darkness of error. The souls saved by their personal efforts will be more precious to them than fashionable dress. The white robes given them by Christ, and the jeweled crown as their reward for their unselfish efforts in the salvation of souls, will be more valuable than needless adornments. The stars in their crowns will shine forever and ever, and will a thousand times repay them for the self-denial and self-sacrifice they have exercised in the cause of God. RH December 19, 1878, par. 13

Women of firm principle and decided character are needed, women who believe that we are indeed living in the last days, and that we have the last solemn message of warning to be given to the world. They should feel that they are engaged in an important work in spreading the rays of light which Heaven has shed upon them. Nothing will deter this class from their duty. Nothing will discourage them in the work. They have faith to work for time and for eternity. They fear God, and will not be diverted from the work by the temptation of lucrative situations and attractive prospects. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is sacredly kept by them, because God has placed his sanctity upon it, and has bidden them to keep it holy. They will preserve their integrity at any cost to themselves. These are the ones whom God can use in the tract and missionary work. These are the ones who will correctly represent our faith, whose words will be fitly spoken, like apples of gold in pictures of silver. These can in many ways do a precious work for God in scattering tracts and judiciously distributing the Signs of the Times. Sisters, God calls you to work in the harvest-field and help gather in the sheaves. RH December 19, 1878, par. 14

Our sisters can show by their self-denial and self-sacrifice, and their willingness to work to the best of their ability, that they believe, and are being sanctified through, the truth. Many need a work of this kind to develop the powers they possess. Our sisters should in no case neglect their husbands and their children, but they can do much without neglecting home duties; and there are many who have not these responsibilities. In the various branches of the missionary work, the modest, intelligent woman may use her powers to the very highest account. Who can have so deep a love for the souls of men and women for whom Christ has died as those who are partakers of his grace? Who can represent the truth and the example of Christ better than Christian women who are practicing the truth in their earnest efforts to bring souls to the light? Who so well adapted to be teachers in the Sabbath-schools? With a heart imbued with the love of Christ, teaching the children of her class, praying with them and for them, she may see souls converted. The true mother is adapted to be the true teacher of children. I do not recommend that woman should seek to become a voter or an office-holder; but as a missionary, teaching the truth by epistolary correspondence, distributing tracts and soliciting subscribers for periodicals containing the solemn truth for this time, she may do very much. In conversing with families, in praying with the mother and children, she will be a blessing. RH December 19, 1878, par. 15

(To be continued.)